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Note making

Review and organise your notes

After you have made your notes, you need to ensure you can do something with them. This will include creating a filing system, using clear labels, and cross-referencing. You can also use technology to help you to organise your notes.

Read your notes and try to create a summary. You can then attach this summary to your notes and handouts.

Your summary may include:

  • key facts
  • concepts, theories, ideas or arguments
  • some illustrative detail
  • information about other sources of information or ideas
  • questions, thoughts or criticisms.

You should also fill in details from any further reading or research, link new information to what you already know, and discuss with others to fill in any gaps.

If you have written notes from multiple sources for an assignment, review and organise them to help structure your answer.

To organise your notes you should label and file your notes, whether physically or online, and cross-reference with any handouts.

Technology to help you make notes

Many people still like to take notes by hand, but there are now many applications that you can use to help take and organise your notes. Many note making apps and software are free to use, but some require a subscription to access more advanced features, so make sure you read the reviews and decide what will work best for you before you purchase anything. 

Some apps to consider are:

  • OneNoteAllows you to create, edit and organise notes and to-do lists, save webpages and photograph handwritten notes. You can link OneNote to other Microsoft apps such as Word and Outlook and synchronise your notes across your devices. Available on all devices and free to use through your university account.
  • Evernote: Allows you to create, edit and organise notes, save webpages, photograph handwritten notes and synchronise everything across your devices. Available on all devices.
  • Zoho Notebook: Allows you to create visual, eye catching note cards, which you can organise easily into different notebooks and synchronise across your devices. Available on all devices.
  • Simplenote: Allows you to save, format and share simple text notes and synchronise everything across your devices. Available on all devices.

For advice on specialised software and tools that can help you with your studies and assessments (such as dictation, screen reading or mind mapping tools), visit the Disability Services Assistive Technology page. You can also find a wider range of personalised support, from academic adjustments and alternative exam arrangements to advice on extra funding. To find out more and register, contact Disability Services